The Ivy League season will begin this weekend for the Princeton softball team at the Class of 1895 Field against Brown and Yale. The Tigers are 14-8 entering the league slate, their best record heading into Ivy play since 2006 when the Tigers were also 14-8.
Princeton's record is also the best in the Ivy League heading into this first league weekend, but that won't factor into the race for the all-important Ivy title. The 20 games Princeton is scheduled to play against Ivy foes over the next five weekends will decide if Princeton is to return to the top of the Ivy standings for the first time since 2008.
Here is a look at how Princeton stacks up against its opponents this weekend:
Princeton (14-8) vs. Brown (6-8)
Saturday, Mar. 30, 12:30 p.m. at Class of 1895 Field, Princeton, N.J.
All-time series: Princeton leads 48-14-1
Streak: Brown 1 overall, 1 in Princeton (the teams have split the last four doubleheaders)
At the plate: Brown is eighth in the Ivy League in batting average, at .226. Princeton is second in the league, at .312.
Top hitters: Princeton's Alyssa Schmidt leads the league in batting average at .431. Brown's Stephanie Thompson is third at .424.
In the circle: Princeton has the league's second-best ERA at 2.62. Brown is seventh at 4.54.
Top pitchers: Princeton has two of the top six ERAs in the Ivy. Freshman Shanna Christian is fourth in the league at 1.95, and senior Alex Peyton is sixth at 2.45. Brown's Sarah Ropiak is 10th in the league in ERA at 2.96.
Princeton vs. Yale (4-14)
Sunday, Mar. 31, 12:30 p.m. at Class of 1895 Field, Princeton, N.J.
All-time series: Princeton leads 47-12
Streak: Princeton 3 overall, 1 home
At the plate: Yale is fourth in the Ivy with a .258 batting average.
Top hitters: Yale's Sarah Onorato is fourth in the Ivy with a .411 batting average.
In the circle: Yale is eighth in the Ivy with a 5.05 ERA.
Top pitchers: Chelsey Dunham leads Yale with a 2-7 record and 44 2/3 innings, carrying a 5.01 ERA.
Notes on the Tigers:
• Through Sunday's games, the Tigers are ranked No. 12 in the nation in doubles per game at 1.82. Twelve Tigers have had a two-base knock this season, and Candy Button leads the team with seven.
• Princeton has out-homered its opponents 18-6 this season. Lizzy Pierce, Candy Button and Alex Peyton co-lead the team with three apiece.
• Princeton's 18 home runs are ahead of where the team was heading into the Ivy season in 2008 when it set a program record with 55 home runs. The 2008 Tigers had 11 round-trippers heading into their first league game.
• Senior Candy Button is hitting .338 and is second on the team in hits with 23 a year after hitting .175 with just four doubles as a junior. Button had 22 career RBIs in her first three seasons and has 20 already this season.
• All 19 Tigers have had a start this season, and no player has started all 22 games. Seniors Alex Peyton and Candy Button are the only ones to start more than 18 games. Button has started all 20 games in which she has played, and Peyton has started all 21 in which she has played.
• Among the pitchers, Princeton's four have all started between four and seven games this season, with ERA leader Shanna Christian (4-3, 1.95 ERA) making four starts and Alex Peyton (3-3, 2.45) making a team-high seven with 48 2/3 innings pitched.